A Code of conduct for the natural stone sector.

A Code of conduct for the natural stone sector.

A better way forward for the natural stone sector.

In the last decade there has been a growing interest in the improvement of sustainability performance throughout supply chains. However, this report argues that sustainability standards for the quarrying and processing of natural stone and natural stone products in developing countries needs to be lifted to a higher level. Violations of basic labour rights still occur and good care for natural resources is not always considered. Although locally labour and environmental legislation may well be in place, compliance to and enforcement of such legislation may be lacking.

A working group comprising of  representatives of the Dutch natural stone industry, civil society organisations and public agencies developed a code of conduct for sustainability and supply chain responsibility for Dutch companies in the stone sector. This Code is built upon two pillars: social, ecological and economic issues, derived from international standards, and operational requirements, derived from experienced CSR-schemes in other sectors. The Code specifically addresses both social and ecological issues, since it is recognized that there often is a correlation between the two categories of issues. Simultaneously, the subscribers to this Code recognise that a voluntarily adopted Code of conduct cannot replace national or international legislation. To the contrary, CSR intends to strengthen and support compliance with and implementation of international and national laws and regulations.

The key areas discussed as part of the code of conduct include:

  • societal issues-key issues and expectations society may have towards these companies include laws and quarrying/processing licenses- the company respects all applicable local and international legislation of the country in which it operates, and arranges for obtaining the required licenses prior to activities being undertaken
  • labour issues: relating to working conditions applicable to the personnel employed by companies active in the natural stone sector. These include that companies must practice free choice of labour, avoid child labour, and exercise good health and safety practice
  • environmental issues- these include good environmental management so that the company needs to ensure the environmental impact of its activities is limited as far as possible
  • operational requirements- involving supply chain responsibility such as good purchasing practices and accessibility of market information for all stakeholders